Oh What a Knight: Hardwick Ads Of The ’60s

“Oh what a night,” goes the Four Seasons tune, “late December back in ’63….” Well about that time, Tennessee-based Hardwick was selling its natural-shouldered clothing to the masses in a series of chivalrous print ads. According to this one, your “natural shouldered presence” will earn approval from a “damsel”:

Hardwick was in the clothing business, but they were savvy enough to know the customer-retention benefits of autographed snapshots of its models, as seen in this ad:

The combination of chivalry and sex is completely illustrative of the moral should-we-or-shouldn’t-we tug-of-war of the 1960s:

But maybe earth girls aren’t so easy after all. Looks like they hired Ed Wood to design this one:

When Hardwick wasn’t playing up the courtly angle, it kept the babes but dropped the chivalry:

Even with sporting-themed ads, there had to be at least one female:

I think we’ve hit upon one of the main differences between legit Ivy and natural-shouldered garb for the masses: Can you imagine a busty babe in a J. Press catalog?

Still, it’s interesting how many of the ads extoll actual facts (natural shoulders, lapped seams, canvas construction) rather than the brand mythologies used in print advertising today.

And finally, nude under a gent’s blazer: You can’t go much further than that. At least not back then. 

16 Comments on "Oh What a Knight: Hardwick Ads Of The ’60s"

  1. Hard wick indeed!

  2. I personally sold Hardwick’s line of clothing for a few years as a private retail vendor. Unfortunately I like many others, I ended up having to close due to the faltering economy a couple of years ago.
    They are a great company to do business with and do make a greatline of American made clothing. It’s too bad that they don’t still produce the classic Ivy styles displayed in these old pictures!

  3. Very cool ads and lot of roll going on. I especially enjoy the illustrated one.

  4. Bit naff to have a big ‘H’ badge on it.

    The bloke is long past his school days.

  5. Love those ads. I can’t recall the ads from back then. Of course the magazines that featured those ads were not available to young teens. (At least not to me.)

    The ads show the fantasy of a male dominated society, in which a female’s sole purpose was to please a man. Those ads depicted just that, fantasy that never existed for 99.9 % of men, unless you were Hef.

  6. Wayne Kerr
    If one can read the advertisements, they says crest of clubs, frats, schools etc. can be applied for extra $. The big H, as compared to the big pony, is for branding in ads only. 🙂

  7. Wriggles
    “fantasy that never existed for 99.9 % of men, unless you were Hef.” Sure it exist, in stripe clubs where you pay for it, just like Hef pays for it at the mansion.

    Besides, who wouldn’t want to be Hef, especially in the beginning when he exhibited some class and before silicone, if you get my drift? America’s girl next door pimp!, I mean what young man doesn’t have memories of his first expose to Playboy?

    Hardwick is a different story, I don’t know if i ever owned one, but in the 60s most of my clothing was private labeled and I didn’t always ask, so who knows.

  8. Shame about Bowers, though.

  9. Hardwick also made blazers for women, note the crew ad and the one with the Honda Dream in it.

  10. I forgot to add, in the ads Hardwick refers to women as maids, maidens, blazer-girl, and my favorite, “For she-group, all these (colors) plus white”. What no “broad”? 🙂

  11. @ MAC

    I can’t recall the first time I saw a Playboy, but I recall fantasizing about Barbi Benton. Somehow, I saw myself driving a white Clenet Continental roadster (a retro car, somewhat like a Zimmer) with her seductively sitting in the passenger seat, growing more wanton every minute.

    Of course, I’d be smoking a pipe and wearing a navy blazer and tie.

    Those sweet young girls like Barbi could never be considered “broads”.

  12. Old School Tie | October 14, 2020 at 7:29 am |

    Dacron? Presumably the sleeve could be used for the inevitable aortic aneurysm repair. Not much natural shoulder going on either and they make all the chaps look rather broad in the beam.

  13. I once wore a Hardwick suit. It was not the heyday ideal, but it served its purpose very well. I’ve tried to replace it, but I cannot find that all-business color, style, or fit. It did have a soft shoulder.

  14. Charlottesville | October 14, 2020 at 10:49 am |

    Old School Tie – You are right to be horrified, but in Hardwick’s defense Dacron featured fairly prominently at Brooks Brothers in those days as well. It took a while, in the US at least, for men to tire of the new “miracle fibers” and go back to all wool. The blends were often advertised as good for travel because they shunned wrinkles better than most wools of the era, and a bit of Dacron blended with wool was thought an acceptable compromise. I bought two of them around 1985 (pre-Marks & Spencer, I note) because they were the cheapest 3/2 sack suits Brooks carried other than poplin and seersucker, and at that time I couldn’t afford the better stuff. The all wool is definitely superior of course, but the blend was tolerable for a kid fresh out of school who needed a new wardrobe in a hurry.

  15. Old School Tie | October 14, 2020 at 12:19 pm |

    Charlottesville, I jest….but they could have called, very wittily in my opinion, that model of blazer the “PETE”….

Comments are closed.